Wishing Well was unknown to me before I heard your new album ‘Rat Race’. Can you tell me, and our readers, a bit more about how the band came together? When was the band founded? Wat did the members do before they joined Wishing Well?
The band started as my solo project a few years ago and after some demo albums I decided to start a band and release an album. There’s a good musicians wanted web service in Finland and I found the first players there. This happened in the fall of 2014 and the first album 'Chasing Rainbows' was released in February 2016. The vocalist Peter James Goodman had a band called Conquest, Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot) used to play the bass in that band.
With Rafeal Castillo you found a great new vocalist. How does a guy from Chile end up in the land of a thousand lakes? Could you tell us something more about that?
Our organist Arto suggested Rafa, they had met in a Deep Purple jam session in Helsinki when Rafa joined Arto and the jam band on stage to play 'Child In Time'. So it’s thanks to Arto I found Rafa. He works for DarkGlass Electronics and they have a factory in Helsinki. They produce awesome high end bass amps and pedals.
The same goes for your new Hammond player Arto Teppo, how did you get hold of him?
I’ve known Arto for a while, I got to know him through the Perfect Strangers Of Finland, a very well organized Deep Purple fan club here in Finland.
What made the band decide to add Arto as a Hammond player. Was there something missing in the overall sound?
I don’t think there was anything missing but I’ve always been a big Hammond organ fan and I’ve had the idea of using that instrument on my songs for years. When I got to know Arto I realized that he’s a guy who could make my dream come true. It’s like icing on the cake I would say. I don’t understand why metal bands nowadays don’t utilize this awesome instrument more, like they did back in the 70s.
For me it is clear that the old days of Rainbow are an influence that really sounds through on the album. What other bands or musicians have been or are still an influence on your music?
I grew up with the good stuff from 70s and 80s and classic hard rock and metal is in my genes. I don’t want to mention names, I want people to hear what they hear without me pointing out my influences. Anyways you’re quite correct and of course experienced listeners can tell where we come from. Me and Arto are old school whereas Rafa is younger and into modern metal and power metal. He’s actually introduced me to a lot of new bands I never knew existed before!
As you write all the songs, could you tell me how you approach the songwriting? Is this a constant process or are the songs written specifically for the album?
Songwriting is a constant process and you really can’t help it, there are ideas coming and going every time I grab a guitar in my hands. There is a lot of music written and it’s then up to me and the band to decide which songs we want to arrange for the band to use on albums. Up until now it’s been mostly my responsibility but for the future I’d like the whole band to participate more in selecting and arranging the songs.
I really like the track ‘Pilgrim Caravan’ with that haunting violin, could you tell something more about how this song was written?
'Pilgrim' was written 4-5 years ago and I really paid attention and used a lot of time in putting that together. I’ve always admired long, epic metal songs and I wanted to come up with something similar to what the big bands did back in the day. I also wanted to do something different so that’s how I came up with this Arabic thing, the scales and the lyrics. There’ something really fascinating about their culture and traditions and religion. Lyrics are a story of pilgrimage to Mecca from a young boy’s point of view and I think it works well here. I guess that 'Pilgrim' is the best thing I’ve written so far and I hope people get it and feel it.
In what way is Wishing Well a democratic band? Do all the members have a say in what goes on an album or not?
Democracy is bad for bands. It causes arguments and battle for power. Someone must be able to make things happen without extra hassle. Of course there must be a good feeling in the band despite of that but any organization needs a boss who’s responsible for things. Wishing Well is my band and I make the decisions but like I said I hope that in the future that changes. Rafa had a strong influence on arranging some of the songs for 'Rat Race' and the band could benefit from him taking more part in writing and arranging the songs. Hammond organ is another story too, I’m sure we can improve our musical dialect with Arto in the future.
Is Wishing Well the main priority for all involved? Or are there other bands or jobs they have to attend to?
Most of us have civil jobs and other bands and projects so we’re pretty busy! Rafa’s band in Chile is called Fireland, a great power metal band, they have released two very good albums full of melodic power metal. Rafa plays guitar in that band too. Juha plays drums in Grave Siesta, a doom metal band. Arto plays anywhere!
The album covers of your two albums have a bit of a psychedelic look and feel to them. Who is the artist and why did you decide to have sleeves that do not immediately refer to a rock album?
We want to do some things differently. Many metal and hard rock album covers are dark and gloomy and filled with clichés like silly monsters or skulls or destruction and so on but that’s not us, we feel it’s ridiculous. Wishing Well is about honest music and spirit that comes from the heart, we try to do things our own way and avoid the worst clichés.
Are there any touring plans besides the already scheduled shows with Doogie White in your native country? Maybe a European tour or shows?
We’re working on things behind the scenes all the time so let’s see what we’ll be able to pull off. We accept serious tour offers from serious bands and promoters! Large scale touring would be very nice but also very demanding and our first priority is to write and produce as good music as possible within our limits.
Is there anything you would like to add, that was not asked in this interview?
It was a very pleasant surprise to read a positive review by Lords Of Metal. We hope many of your readers will check us out and maybe buy the album too! Thank you very much.